Before They Were Stars: Dusty Rhodes in “The Wrestler (1974)”

Film fans everywhere were saddened to hear of the passing of Christopher Lee this past Wednesday, but later that very same day, wrestling fans also received a shocking blow of their own when it was announced that “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, one of the most popular and influential figures in the history of the wrestling business, passed away at the age of 69. Before he became a huge singles star, Rhodes started out his wrestling career alongside Dick Murdoch in the early 1970s as a tag team called The Texas Outlaws. They competed in the American Wrestling Association and in 1974, the promotion helped produce a campy feature film called The Wrestler (no relation to the acclaimed Darren Aronofsky-Mickey Rourke movie), which starred Ed Asner and featured many prominent real-life wrestlers, including the late Verne Gagne (who also passed away this year) and a young Ric Flair. The Wrestler also provided some early exposure for Dusty Rhodes, as he and Dick Murdoch both have a bar fight scene with former professional wrestler Harold Sakata (a.k.a. Tosh Togo), who is dressed in the same outfit he wore when he played Oddjob in Goldfinger.

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